A man from British Columbia has been charged with a hate crime for anti-Semitic content on his website, which includes material from the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and refers to those of Jewish faith as snakes.
Arthur Topham, 65, of Quesnel, was charged Monday with promoting hatred against an identifiable group on his website, Radical Press. Topham has run the website, described by local media as anti-Zionist, since 1998.
The charge comes six months after a criminal investigation into the website's content was opened, The Toronto Sun reported.
“It’s relatively uncommon to have charges sworn under this section (of the Criminal Code) in British Columbia,” Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said.
Complaints against Radical Press first surfaced in 2007 when Harry Abrams of Victoria, B.C., and Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman filed a grievance against Topham with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Abrams said the complaint ended up getting bogged down in uncertainty over the law, but police began investigating the case last spring, according to the newspaper.
“There’s a place for opinion and a place for discourse. When you have hate propaganda, it’s generally a one-sided thing that cannot be answered to,” said Abrams, a volunteer with the Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith Canada.
Topham’s lawyer Doug Christie told QMI Agency Canada’s hate-speech laws are “instruments of oppression” and there’s no evidence to support the idea that anything someone says promotes violence.
“Nobody has to look up Mr. Topham’s website unless they want to go out of their way to be offended,” he said.